Turkey's New Alliances

Why It Is Partnering With Its Former Rivals

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend a news conference following their talks in Sochi, Russia, May 3, 2017. Alexander Zemlianichenko / Reuters

When Turkey welcomed Iranian Chief of General Staff Mohammad Bagheri to Ankara in mid-August, it was the first time since the Iranian revolution of 1979 that an Iranian official of his position had traveled abroad. In an equally surprising move, Ankara announced in August that it was preparing to host the Russian military chief, Valery Gerasimov, to discuss regional security. The vigor of Turkey’s outreach to Iran and Russia, two historic rivals, ought to raise eyebrows in President Donald Trump’s White House. It not only signals an important foreign policy shift, but is an indicator that Ankara has given up on Washington.

Back in November 2016, hopes ran high in Ankara that a United States under Trump would be good for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated Trump on his presidential victory, notably saying that his election would mark a new era in U.S.-Turkish relations. At the time,

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